The News with J: February 23 (transcript)

A couple weeks ago we started this news show for our YouTube channel called, “The News With J”. We have two episodes up on our YouTube channel and we were working on our third episode before our weekend got busy and J came down with a cough. So, instead of having a video, we thought it would be good to still get the news out in the form of a post! So here is the transcript of what would have been The News with J for the weekend of February 23rd, 2018.

“Hello, this is the news with J and I am your host J. I’d like to thank our sponsors at Watchtower Cafe for all their support. Get your geek on while you get your drink on at 1588 South State Street in Salt Lake City. Now, let’s get to the news.

In TV news, last week was the amazingly emotional mid-season premiere of Star Wars Rebels. There are only four more episodes until the end and I can’t wait!! If you have a cable subscription you can catch up by signing into the DisneyNOW app. The next episodes will air Monday at 7:00 and 7:30 pm on Disney XD.

Also in TV news, Andi Mack was renewed for a third season! I’ve been watching Andi Mack with my mommy and daddy and it has become one of our favorite shows to watch together. Andi Mack is another show that you can catch up on using the DisneyNOW app!!

In movie news, Black Panther has been wowing critics and audiences alike brining in close to $400 million since it opened on February 16th! If you haven’t seen it yet, I only have one question. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Click here to get your tickets today!

In other movie news, Disney/Pixar’s Coco will be a available on Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday. We will be heading to our local Target to grab our copy first thing in the morning!

Here is our weekly list of books for young readers that will be hitting comic book store shelves on Wednesday!!

Scooby-Doo Team Up #35

Ducktales #6

Donald Duck: Nest of the Demon Birds

My Little Pony: Legends of Magic #11

Darth Vader #12

Star Wars: Mace Windu Jedi of the Republic trade

Lockjaw #1

Lumberjanes #47

Steven Universe #13

And Legends of Zelda: Twilight Princess vol. 3

In toy news, last week was the American International Toy Fair in New York City and I wanted to share some of my favorite toys that my daddy showed me on Twitter. I want to thank Star Wars Junk, “Agent M” Ryan Penagos, LEGO, Hasbro, KidsToyPicks, Jakks Pacific, and Entertainment Weekly for sharing the pictures of these amazing toys.

Hasbro

Spider-Ham Legends figure:

Legends Infinity Gauntlet:

Marvel The First 10 years Legends line:

My copilot Chewie you from Fur Real:

Star Wars Black Series line:

Uncle Milton

Star Wars Science Fossil sets:

LEGO

Solo:

Harry Potter:

Jakks Pacific

Incredibles 2 toys

Mattel

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom toy line:

Thank you for watching this week’s episode of The News with J. I hope you have a great week. Don’t forget to like/comment/subscribe and May the Force be with You!”

So there you have it. This is what this last week’s episode of “The News with J” was supposed to be. I know it’s not the same as watching a six year old deliver the news, but he should be back in action this Saturday morning! We hope you will tune into our YouTube channel to see all the fun J has with his news show!

Advertisements

Coco

From the opening Disney title screen to the end, Disney/Pixar’s Coco had me running the gauntlet of emotions. The movie opened with a mariachi rendition of the Disney classic “When You Wish Upon a Star” and I was immediately hooked, and the movie held J and I all the way through the message telling people to learn more about Dia de Los Muertos.

Coco follows Miguel Rivera (voiced by the talented Anthony Gonzales) as he embarks on a journey to become a famous musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. The catch to this tale is that Miguel’s family of shoe makers are not very fond of music or musicians. Miguel’s family wants him to continue the family legacy as a shoe maker, and his abuela tells him that his family will show him how when they visit from the land of the dead on Dia de los Muertos. How will Miguel live his dreams? I guess you’ll have to get your tickets and find out.

Coco is a beautiful film directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina that Disney/Pixar fans of all ages will love. The design of the land of the dead is beautiful and the music (composed by Michael Giacchino) was excellent. The casting department did such an amazing job with this cast. With Benjamin Bratt, Gael García Bernal, Edward James Olmos, Cheech Marin, Jaime Camil, Renee Victor, Alanna Ubach, John Ratzenberger (it is a Pixar), and more, this almost fully Latino cast brought the metaphorical house down. That being said my favorite voice actor had to be Ana Ofelia Murguía. The way she voiced her character brought a lot of emotions up in me. Mainly because she reminded me of my abuela who suffered from Alzheimer’s.

The story is fantastic, and is one that people of all ages will love. Coco felt like home. There were so many comparisons I was making between the film and my own life. Many of the characters in Coco that reminded me of my own family, especially Miguel’s chancla throwing abuela. The family shoe business reminded me of my grandma’s breakfast burrito/tamale delivery business. Seeing Miguel’s abuela’s tamales reminded me of all the hours that my brothers and I spent tying little strands of husk around tamales that would be devoured in seconds. Hearing Miguel’s abuela say, “you’ll feel better after you eat,” brought back even more memories.

Even though Coco has heavy themes surrounding family, I feel that the biggest theme is about remembering. With the track “Remember Me” being everyone in the town’s favorite song and with the movie focusing so much on the land of the dead, it’s hard not to notice it. It can feel like the theme is being hammered into your brain, but I feel like this is a theme that needs to do that every now and then.

Do not forget that this is a Pixar film, and that usually means you will need a Costco size box of tissues to make it all the way through Coco. There are so many happy and sad moments in Coco that I can’t really explain without spoiling the film, so I’ll just say that you need to be prepared to cry.

While there is Spanish dropped here and there, you don’t need to know the language to fully enjoy Coco as context will help you understand. I loved that the writers sprinkled Spanish in the script. I felt like it made some of the scenes pop more than if they just used the English equivalent. While the movie is based around traditions of Dia de los Muertos, Coco is not an educational film. It is meant to get people who may not know the customs interested, hence the disclaimer at the end of the credits.

My one negative comment actually has nothing to do with Coco, but with the Olaf short film in front of Coco. It was way too long and it seemed like Disney put it in front of Coco to get the white audience interested in seeing Coco. Just don’t leave after the Olaf feature. Stay for Coco. I promise that you will enjoy it.

Coco is Rated PG for thematic elements. Coco was written by Matthew Aldrich and Adrian Molina, and was directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina.

Character, Not Race

I don’t speak for all Latinos, nor do I speak for the entirety of the PoC community worldwide. This is a statement that I think needs to be understood when getting into “social media debates” surrounding cultural appropriation and costumes, and this is a statement that I am making before I get started.

There is a debate that happens every year around Halloween and getting tagged in these debates because I am “the brown friend” is getting old. The most recent debate started over an article entitled “Why You Shouldn’t Dress Your Kids Up As Moana This Halloween” and it blew up my newsfeed. So, I felt like instead of addressing each and every post that people tagged me in, that I would instead write up a small response the best way I know how.

First and foremost, I want to say that I think it’s fine if kids want to wear costumes of characters whom they don’t share the same skin tone with. I think seeing kids of color dressed as white characters in pop culture is adorable and white kids dressing up as Moana can be just as adorable. The biggest problem is when parents try to darken or lighten the skin in order to make the costume “look better”. Changing skin tone is never ok and will never be okay. Black face, brown face, yellow face, etc have been used to demean and disrespect other cultures for years and those wounds have not healed, so don’t do it.

img_0158

© Ohio State University

It’s not just painting skin that can be problematic, but doing anything that can be seen as highlighting the race of a character is also problematic. Things like hairstyle, clothing, or even symbolic tattoos can be seen as mockery towards another culture. Last fall, there was a PR nightmare down at Brigham Young University when their student-ran comedy troupe “Divine Comedy” decided to do a Moana parody. The parody itself was meant to be a mash up of the problematic LDS film Johnny Lingo with Moana and apparently it was supposed to be funny. But when they released the poster for the event, the Polynesian characters were being played by white actors in what could be deemed as brown face. The actor portraying Maui was a white male wearing a brown shirt, and the worst wig known to costuming

©2017 Brigham Young University

If you’re thinking to yourself, “I want to honor those other cultures by having my family dress as those amazing characters.” Great! Fantastic! Wonderful! Honor them. Help your children learn more about the cultures you are wanting them to honor. If they want to be Moana or Maui, then sit them down and read the history of Maui and learn why the Moana story can be so important to the Polynesian community. The same goes for wanting to portray characters of any culture. It’s not on the PoC community to try and teach people why something is offensive, it is on the people wanting to honor these cultures to educate themselves.

Now that I’ve touched on costumes, let me talk about the subject I get tagged in most frequently online, Sugar Skulls and Dia de los Muertos. As a family we have barely started celebrating this holiday, but growing up, I remember my grandparents teaching me why the holiday is important as well as telling me stories of their families and growing up in Mexico. While Sugar Skulls have nothing to do with Halloween, I personally have never taken issue with people who’ve painted sugar skulls on their faces for Halloween. However, I do know quite a few people who celebrate the holiday and do take issue, so because I am still learning about the ceremony and ritual behind Dia de los Muertos, I defer to their feelings on this issue.

©2017 Disney/Pixar

The point I am trying to make is that if you are going to dress as characters from other cultures, or send your kids dressed as those characters, do it with respect and understanding. Also, realize that your choice will be seen as problematic in the eyes of some, and those people have every right to be upset, so don’t just tell them “it’s just a costume, relax!!” Be willing to ask thoughtful questions, listen and learn. To those who might get upset, like I said earlier, it’s not our jobs to teach, but we must be willing.

5 Tips for Bringing Your Kids to Salt Lake Comic Con

Bringing kids to a comic book convention can be either a big pain, or with some extra planning, it can be one of the most glorious experiences of yours and your child’s life.

1) Snacks:
Most venues do not allow outside food or drinks, but that rule usually doesn’t apply for the small snacks. Packing small packages of fruit snacks, or graham crackers in a diaper bag, purse, or cargo shorts is a great way to keep off the kids’ hunger pains while you are waiting in line for a panel/photo op/autograph. Also make sure you have a water bottle so that your kids can stay hydrated throughout the convention.

2) Entertainment:
Load up a smart device with musics, videos, books, or apps that your kids love. Especially if you are wanting to get in line to meet your favorite celebrity or to get into a popular panel. Not only will having some entertainment keep your kids happy, but it will also make you happy. Just make sure to bring a portable charger so you can charge your phone. If you are worried about screen time, bring a few picture books for the younger kids, and some comics or other reading materials for the older ones.

3) Cosplay:
One of the funnest things about going to the Con is seeing all the fun kid cosplays. Don’t worry about being 100% accurate or about store bought vs homemade. Kid cosplay is all about having fun and making the kids feel like they are amazing little super heroes. It’s also a lot of fun to try to get pictures with cosplayers wearing similar outfits.

4) Dress up the Transportation:
If you take strollers to the con, why not dress up the strollers to match the little cosplayers. Are you taking a tiny Doctor with you? Grab some cardboard, and some paint and turn that stroller into a little TARDIS!!

5) Kid Con
A family trip to Salt Lake Comic Con would not be complete without stopping at Kid Con. In the past, Kid Con has been one of our favorite stops at Salt Lake Comic Con. There have been amazing booths and activities that kids of all ages loves. This year Galaxy Training Academy, Space Crafts, Princess Tea Parties, Creature Encounters, and Youngling Saber Training are just some of the amazing things lined up for SLCC 15‘s Kid Con. Don’t forget to look for the life-size Speeder Bike at the R2 Builders’ Booth (#3479).

**Please remember that Kid Con is not a daycare center. Parents must remain with their kids while their kids are in the Kid Con area.**

*** Extra Tip*** One of the best things you can do is to locate the bathrooms on the exhibit floor, and the foyer. You can find a map of the Salt Palace by downloading the Salt Lake Comic Con app on your iOS or Android device, and scrolling to the bottom of the menu.

Have a fun and safe time at Salt Lake Comic Con, and please remember that COSPLAY IS NOT CONSENT.

Kids and Gaming

The debate about kids and video games has been going on for decades now. Thanks to Mortal Kombat we now have a rating system that tries to prevent younger gamers from playing the more violent/adult content heavy games, and we now have people advocating for minimal screen time for kids. I want to go on the record as saying that ratings and moderation are not a bad thing, but also I want to say that every kid is different and that you the parent should decide what is best for their kids.

Back in June of 2014 Medical Daily did a write up of a study done by researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore that studied if certain mobile games could improve memory and problem solving skills. The study showed that, “while some games may help improve mental abilities, not all games give you the smae effect.” It showed that after people played “Cut the Rope” for 20 hours, they were able to “concentrate 60 percent better, and switch between tasks 33 percent faster, and adapt to new situations better.”

In October of 2014 the University of Toronto set out to find if playing video games would improve sensorimotor skills. The performed a series of tests between regular gamers and non gamers. Graduate student Davood Gozli said the purpose of the tests was to, “…understand if chronic video game playing has an effect on sensorimotor control, that is, the coordinated function of vision and hand movement.” The tests showed that while gamers did not show improved sensorimotor skills, it did show that gamers were able to recognize the patterns of the tests faster than the non gamers.

Gaming also leads the way for kids to be interested in the tech world. One day after playing some games on his Nintendo 2DS, J came up and asked my wife and I how video games were made. My wife pulled up a video on how motherboards are made, and J thought it was amazing. I thought we could even go deeper and check out code.org to intro him into the world of coding. Talk about an amazing resource, if you click here you will be taken to a game that has Anna and Elsa from Frozen teaching your kids how to code. Click here and your kids will learn how to code their own little game with Disney Infinity characters.

Technology is the business of the future, and our kids need to be tech literate if they are going to be successful. Yes moderation is necessary, but we the parents need to decide how much is too much for our own kids. We also need to realize that playing games with our kids can be a great bonding moment. Maybe not while getting yelled at by random 12 year olds on Call of Duty, but maybe by taking down some Frost Giants together in Disney Infinity 2.0 Marvel Super Heroes. It doesn’t even have to be video games. If you are a board game person, find a game that you and your kids will enjoy together. If your kids like RPGs, maybe you should look into something like Dungeons and Dragons and get their imagination going. It doesn’t matter what kind of games you play with your kids, just take some time and play.

***Salt Lake Gaming Con is just around the corner.  I have 6 tickets to Salt Lake Gaming Con that I will be giving away on Monday August 3rd at 6:00pm, so make sure you stop by my Facebook page, because***

What games did you like to play as a kid that you would pass on to future generations?